Demons of Left-Wing Paranoia

The top item at Memeorandum Wednesday morning was an MSNBC article attempting to inspire fear that last week’s Hobby Lobby court decision could End Democracy As We Know It, or something.

Small children and fools may be frightened by such stuff, but if you’re old enough to have followed politics for two or three decades, you recognize the routine operation of the Fear Machine that Democrats crank up every time they’re worried about losing an election.

The semi-annual Parade of Spooky Right-Wing Phantoms is interesting chiefly for the way the villainous reactionary danger changes from day to day and year to year. During the 1990s, the rotating cast of demonized scapegoats included:

  1. Fundamentalist theocrats whose conspiratorial blueprint could be found in the writings of R.J. Rushdoony;
  2. Militia kooks who listened to short-wave radio broadcasts;
  3. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon;
  4. Right-wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife;
  5. Newt Gingrich.

Over the years, the cast of characters in this Pageant of Evil has changed several times. Ten years ago, the Left was all about fighting such dreaded demons as Halliburton, Karl Rove, Big Oil and “neocons” (a liberal euphemism for EVIL GREEDY JEWS). Nowadays, the exaggerated object of imaginary fear is usually the Koch Brothers.

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After a while, you notice that the list of bogeymen that liberals want you to worry about never includes actual Bad Guys — drug gangs, carjackers, child pornographers, pimps, serial killers, Islamic terrorists or dangerous foreign governments. No, it’s always some far-fetched Republican conspiracy they’re worried about.

The Existential Menace to Democracy As We Know It is necessary to the campaigns of Fear and Hate by which the Party of Evil mobilizes its core constituents: Fools, thieves, radicals and perverts.

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By the way, please excuse the paucity of new blog material today. Monday’s 3,000-word “Sex Trouble” essay about radical feminism was so popular — a sidebar headline at Ace of Spades HQ and an Instalanche, among other encouragement — that I spent most of yesterday working on a follow-up. Work like that takes time to research and write, and so the long silences are inevitable. Also, yesterday I spent a couple hours babysitting my 8-month-old grandson while my wife, daughter and daughter-in-law were out doing various errands.

Keeping the heteronormative patriarchy going is a full-time job, and I appreciate the discussion in the comments, as well as the readers who hit the tip jar. Expect a few more hours of silence today while I finish up the next installment in the series.

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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Robert Stacy McCain
Robert Stacy McCain is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of experience in the news business. He is a correspondent for The American Spectator, editor-in-chief at Viral Read and blogs at

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